What Is a Broken Yellow Line?


Obtaining a driver's license is an exciting event in a person's life, but with the privilege comes responsibility and a need for awareness. Certain rules of the road must be followed, and a driver must understand the various road signs and street markings to be a safe and courteous driver.

Street Markings

  • The American highway system uses consists of various street markings to guide drivers. A broken yellow line on a one-lane highway means that passing is allowed from both directions when conditions permit. A double yellow line that is broken on the driver's side and solid yellow on the opposite side means that the driver is allowed to pass when conditions allow. If the broken-line portion of a double line is on the side of the opposite lane from the driver, passing is permitted for oncoming traffic but prohibited for that driver.


  • Passing is allowed on roads that are marked by dotted yellow lines. Passing should be attempted only when weather and road conditions allow a driver to safely pass the vehicle in front of him. Some rural roads and highways have no street markings; passing is allowed on these roadways if the conditions for safe passing are met.

Road Safety

  • Rain, snow and ice can produce hazardous conditions that may be dangerous for a driver attempting to pass another vehicle -- even when passing is allowed. A driver must exercise good judgment to ascertain if such road conditions warrant safe passing.

Rules of the Road

  • "Rules of the Road" books are available at state motor vehicle facilities. This book contains study information for a prospective licensee, to help him pass the written and road tests. The book details road markings and signs so that drivers can understand what they see on the road. "Rules of the Road" contains practice questions for the student to help prepare for the written test.

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